Manchester United's Champions League chances
Barely a month into his Manchester United career, David Moyes has outlined his ambition for a 'special' European triumph. But can he deliver it?
The appointment of David Moyes as Manchester United manager and the subsequent first month of his Old Trafford career has been surrounded by negativity in one form or another.
However, United fans will be delighted to hear Moyes' most recent words, in which he has targeted European success.
Moyes said: "Winning your own domestic league is very important, but winning the Champions League has become very important, for the country and Premier League as well.
"The history of this club is immersed in Europe and I think to win one of the big European tournaments would always been seen as something special. But I’ve got to say I’m really looking forward to it and hopefully we can do well this season and I do think it’s a much more open competition than it has been in the past."
United fans will be delighted to hear of Moyes' ambition, but do the Red Devils possess the squad to challenge this year's European elite?
Defensively, United have more than enough options to comfortably last a season if injuries and bans should take their toll. However, what they need is a regular centre-back partnership that will develop an understanding similar to that of Ferdinand and Vidic before the pair were both plagued by injuries.
If Moyes has the luxury of a fully fit defensive line, he will possess a unit as strong as any in Europe.
It has been well documented that the Manchester club need a central midfielder. Although this is true if they want to raise their game to another level, Michael Carrick is a world-class dictator of play, and Cleverley, Anderson, Jones, Giggs and Powell can all provide adequate support.
I fully expect Shinji Kagawa to play many more games this season, and to prove that he is a world-class talent. The acquisition of Wilfried Zaha is an exciting one, but it would be unfair to expect him to perform consistently well week in week out, so it could be that a combination of either Ashley Young, Luis Nani or Antonio Valencia will be first choice, and United fans will hope that they can bring a higher level of consistency into their play than they managed last year.
On the forward front, United's attacking options are good enough to rival anyone in the world. Despite the best efforts of the media, Rooney is still an Old Trafford player, and his partnership with Robin van Persie is incredibly dangerous.
Javier Hernandez is a fan's favourite and an extremely clinical goalscorer who has been exceptionally unlucky not to play more games since arriving in Manchester.
Danny Welbeck offers something different again, with his direct running and speed.
All in all, Manchester United are still one of the top teams in Europe, even if the recent rapid progress of the German and French teams have made winning the Champions League an even tougher prospect than usual.
But with worries over Wayne Rooney's future persisting, and the apparent lack of success in the transfer window doing nothing to ease fans' worries, Moyes' positive words will give the Old Trafford faithful something to smile about for perhaps the first time this season.
One thing is for sure, if Moyes can deliver a fourth European crown, his title as 'Sir Alex Ferguson's successor' will surely be put to one side, and people will herald him as a world-class manager in his own right.
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